Amid Apple Car Rumors, Volkswagen CEO Welcomes Competitors to Accelerate Transformation of the Auto Industry

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Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess has responded to recent rumors of an Apple car, saying that the major German automaker embraces competition and anticipates the innovations of newcomers in the industry.

Apple car wheel icon feature teal

In a response to a comment on LinkedIn asking about Apple’s “Project Titan,” first spotted by iMore, Diess said:

We look forward to new competitors who will certainly accelerate the change in our industry again and bring new skills. The incredible valuation [of new competitors] and their practically unlimited access to resources instills a lot of respect in us. A real challenge – dimensions larger than that within our industry (e.g. Toyota Motor Corporation).

I already said: The most valuable company in the world will again be a mobility company – it can be Tesla, Apple, or Volkswagen AG.

On Monday, Reuters reported that Apple is aiming to begin production on a self-driving vehicle starting in 2024. Apple is reportedly developing a “next level” battery system that could “radically” reduce cost and increase vehicle range, and plans to make use of multiple LiDAR scanners for self-driving functions.

The Volkswagen Group has been the world’s largest automaker by sales since 2016 and sells vehicles under the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT Škoda, MAN, Scania, and Volkswagen brands. Diess’s comments illustrate how far recent rumors of an Apple car have pervaded the auto industry. Following the Reuters report, Apple’s stock climbed by around four percent, while Tesla’s fell by around six percent.

Yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk weighed into discussions surrounding an Apple car, saying that he once reached out to Apple CEO Tim Cook about the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla, but Cook “refused to take the meeting.”

If and when Apple does begin selling a passenger vehicle, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Apple will likely be direct competitors, with all three companies heavily investing in self-driving technology.

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